After entertaining multiple offers from private developers, the Lyndhurst, Ohio club agreed to sell the property for $14.75 million to the nonprofit group, which intends to impose deed restrictions to limit development and maintain a green space. The city offered to buy the property last month for $16 million, with the hope of developing the area and generating tax revenue.
Acacia Country Club’s shareholders have approved the sale of the 160-acre, Lyndhurst, Ohio property to the Conservation Fund, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
The $14.75 million deal got 77 percent of the private club’s votes, handing ownership to the Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit group. The high-profile property could become anything from a quiet park to a public golf course, the Plain Dealer reported.
“This property will remain as green space and will not be used any more intensively than it is today,” said Matt Sexton, a Senior Vice President of Real Estate with the conservation group. “We expect the clubhouse to be here and to be available, at least for events like weddings and things like that, and possibly conferences. But we expect the footprint of the property to remain as it is today.”
Acacia members will finish a final season at the Donald Ross-designed course after choosing the offer over competing bids from local developers, who hoped to build stores, restaurants, apartments, offices and entertainment venues on the property, the Plain Dealer reported.
“What drove the overwhelming support for it was the opportunity to preserve an Acacia legacy with some sort of open space, whatever it will be,” Charles Longo, the club’s President, said after the shareholder meeting. “The money was a secondary concern for the vast majority of the members.”
The city offered to buy the land for $16 million to avert the conservation deal and develop the site. Mayor Joseph Cicero hoped to see a mix of uses for the property that would generate much-needed tax revenues. Members have voted down several deals with private developers since 2008, and the Conservation Fund was the first suitor interested in preserving the property, the Plain Dealer reported.
As of now, the plan is to put deed restrictions on the property to ensure it will not be developed. The nonprofit has 90 days to conduct more research and close the deal. Sexton said his group is talking to other nonprofit groups in Northeast Ohio about managing the property, the Plain Dealer reported.
“Part of the due diligence will be looking at the financing of the property as a golf course and talking to potential partners we might work with,” he said.
Acacia will use money from the sale to pay off debts, then split the remaining cash among about 86 shareholders, who hold four to 16 shares each. The club also has 100 annual members, who did not participate in the vote, the Plain Dealer reported.
“I think right now, to Lyndhurst, that was a very valuable, viable asset,” said Cliff West, an associate at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services in Independence, Ohio. “If I had to pick a location in Northeast Ohio that is ‘develop-able,’ that’s it—or, that was it.”
Some residents, however, are ecstatic about the green space, including Harry Singer, the Plain Dealer reported.
“Oh, that’s fantastic,” Singer said. “That’s just wonderful news. I’m a 57-year-old who almost certainly, if that transaction happens, will revisit my long-term housing plans. I would love to live next to a space like that.”
C&RB covered this story as it developed: “City Submits $16 Million Offer for Acacia CC.”